• • Your case was resolved in your favor, or resulted in diversion;
  • • You have a juvenile delinquency record;
  • • Your case resulted in a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor and you have been crime free for two years after your sentence was completed;
  • • You have a conviction for a gross misdemeanor and you have been crime free for four years after your sentence was completed;
  • • You have a conviction for a qualifying low-level, non-violent felony and you have been crime free for five years after your sentence was completed.

What is Judicial Expungement?

For almost all other convictions or records of arrest, you must ask a judge to seal your records, and the judge can only seal the Court’s records, not the records belonging to any other agency or branch of government. It’s a more limited remedy, but can still provide some relief.

Does expungement mean that my record is invisible to everyone, forever?

If your records are expunged via statutory expungement, a Court can seal the records in the Judicial branch as well as records kept by agencies in the executive branch, such as the BCA, police departments, and prosecutors’ offices. It even requires private business screening services to delete expunged records. This makes your records invisible, however, records can still be opened for special reasons if a Judge allows it by order. This means that for all intents and purposes, yes it is invisible to everyone going forward.

However, if your case is not expunged under the statutory provisions, but instead granted under Judicial Authority, then only the records of your case in the Judicial Branch will be sealed and would not show up in a records search in the Court system. Related records would still be retained by state executive agencies like the prosecutor’s office, police, and probation.

What are the chances of the court granting an expungement?

  • Under the new law, some convictions qualify for expungement at certain point automatically. In other cases, one must convince a judge to grant the expungement, you will have to prove that you suffer from some hardship based on the conviction remaining on your record. For example, you have been denied housing, employment, or a professional license because of your record.
  • Next, you will have to show that sealing your criminal record will not negatively affect public safety, and that you have rehabilitated yourself. Often if your conviction is minor, a judge will be sympathetic. However, the more serious the offense, the less likely a judge will be convinced that the benefit to you outweighs the public interest in having your record available.

What if I was acquitted or the charges against me were dismissed? Do I still need an expungement?

  • Under statute, you will have to go through the expungement process, but if the case was resolved in your favor, you will qualify for expungement.

If my petition for expungement is granted, then what happens?

  • Your state court record will still exist, but it will be invisible to the general public. That means if someone were to go to the county courthouse and look up court records either by talking to a clerk or using the court computer system, your record would not be able to be seen. Employers would not be able to see your record, or at least not the record of the conviction or charges you have expunged. A judge has the authority to seal the records of executive branch agencies, meaning that the BCA, police departments, the Department of Human Services and other agencies have to seal their records too. That means more privacy and peace of mind for you.

What about sealing the records of other agencies?

Effective January 1, 2015, an expungement order can seal the records of other agencies. That means that the Court can order Police and Probation Departments to delete their records of your case.

How Do I Ask for an Expungement?

  • There are special procedures for asking for an expungement, and it involves a lot of forms, records, and paperwork. It usually takes 6 to 8 months minimum to gather records, prepare forms, wait for a hearing, and wait for an order. There are specific waiting times built into the process by law to allow for the State to respond to your petition, and for either side to appeal the Court’s order.
  • No. Sadly there is no expungement process in federal court like there is in Minnesota State Court. The only remedy is a pardon from the President.